Although by international standards Liechtenstein is one of the smaller centres, amongst the experts it is regarded as the insider’s tip as far as modern “fund boutiques” are concerned. It is seen as a fund boutique because its modern, EU-compatible investment fund legislation leaves plenty of scope for customised solutions. Liechtenstein also benefits greatly as a fund centre because investor protection is firmly embedded in its law.
Liechtenstein-registered investment funds, including undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) and alternative investment funds (AIF), are theoretically subject to taxes. However, their income is tax exempt, resulting in no taxes being paid on dividend and interest income or price gains. The tax liability of individual investors in these funds will depend on the rules applicable in their country of domicile.
Liechtenstein’s membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) means that, subject to certain conditions, its fund management companies and its UCITS- and AIF-compatible investment funds enjoy easy, non-discriminatory access to the European market.
The legal form of a fund can be chosen without restriction in line with the promoter’s requirements. Funds are usually constituted in either a contractual or a corporate form. The corporate form is mainly adopted for externally managed or self-managed limited companies with variable capital (AGmvK/SICAV). All funds can also be structured as umbrella structures comprising of multiple sub-funds.
Certain Liechtenstein funds benefit from regulatory exemptions concerning the establishment and supervision of funds. However, such exemptions are themselves conditional upon specific restrictions (EU passport, distribution channels, etc.). Working together, we can find the ideal fund configuration for any given target project.
The Liechtenstein financial and fund centre is governed by modern, EU-compatible legislation and an independent supervisory authority. Investor protection is firmly embedded in Liechtenstein investment fund law and is continuously safeguarded by the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority (FMA) and by independent audit companies and certified auditors, all of whom must obtain FMA authorisation. The gap between the interests of financial service providers and those of the clients is neatly bridged by the highly professional application of international due diligence standards and the high level of protection afforded to privacy by the fund unit custodians.
Liechtenstein’s financial institutions and public authorities are geared to each other’s needs. Intensive communication, efficient official channels and speedy decision-making allow funds to be set up within the statutory maximum time limits. This means promoters can plan ahead with confidence.
The expertise accumulated in the Liechtenstein financial centre over decades is abundantly evident in its financial institutions and industry associations as well as in its financial authorities.
As well as being Switzerland’s geographical neighbour, Liechtenstein has very close links as a result of the economic, customs and monetary union between the two countries.
The Liechtenstein financial centre is distinguished by its high degree of competitiveness and the stability of its underlying social, legal and economic systems. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s give Liechtenstein top marks, i.e. a country rating of AAA.
The conservative-liberal attitude to business of both the government and the people means that the State seldom intervenes in economic life.